Posts tagged “Parable of the Sower

Boundary Line

Recently in my quiet time, I was again drawn to Mark chapter 4. I love the Parable of the Sower.  There are so many principles and applications on so many levels. The farmer scatters the seed on the path, the rocky place, among weeds and then—good soil (vv1-20, please read those beautiful words in red).  Praying as I read through these verses over and over (in different translations) I felt Holy Spirit point. 

He was pointing at the rocky place.

If the good soil is the place that contains a healthy environment to grow the best and abundant yielded harvest, then “good soil” is the goal. Good soil, the soil of my heart for Jesus.

So, what about the rocky place?

In my research I found some amazing things.  The rocks found in fields are known as fieldstones (I know, “Duh” but that’s their technical name) and lie at or near the surface of the ground. They are regarded as a huge nuisance to the farmer. Great labor is taken to remove it. Interestingly, in the early days (prior to modern fencing) those annoying stones were then picked up and stacked not only as fencing—but boundary lines. What once littered the field, hindering the farmer to full harvest, now stands as a clearly marked boundary line.

As I pondered this I had to smile, and quietly whisper “Those stupid rocks.” Just when I think my field is good to go, I trip over yet another rock and face plant right there in the middle of the field. Instead of getting up and just kicking it aside, I know now, if I truly—genuinely desire a good healthy field (besides a good tilling and weed pulling) I need to pick up those growth hindering rocks. 

I appreciate God’s practicality. He didn’t just say, “Move’m.” He told me what to do with them. It’s not only hard work, but heart-work!  Not to mention (but I will) may we not be super meticulous about how we stack those rocks (I know a few will stress over that) just get them out of the field and on the heap. Those stones representing anything that hinders my receiving God’s word, His instruction, HIS standard for my life.  Some of those stones will post as a declaration of what once tripped me up, now stands as boundary line of awareness, “THAT is no longer allowed in my field.” Rock built, boundary line.

Boundary lines are not to contain us, they are to protect and prevent what comes in.  The psalmist wrote, “I walk about in freedom, for I have sought out Your precepts” (Ps 119:45). There is freedom in knowing God and His word. And knowing and preventing what hinders us.

God is worthy of our clean-up project. Will you join me in cleaning up our field, picking up and stacking rocks!  We will be amazed what God can do with those empty, prior stone filled places. Good soil.

Boundary lines.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” Hebrews 10:24).

Know Your Weeds

Weeds. A weed is defined as a plant growing where it is not wanted or intentionally sown.  A plant that competes or interferes with the activity of deliberately placed plants.

Weeds.  God has been speaking to me about the weeds in our life.

Jesus speaks directly to the thorny weeds in the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8).  A parable is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson.  The narrative states Jesus was teaching a large group of folks.  His story telling of these four different scenarios would most definitely encompass them all. In this story, although mightily important, the Sower is not the focal point, he goes about sowing, scattering the seed at will. The seed, although powerfully essential, it too is not the prominent point.  The point is the receiving ground. 

Four Seeding Scenarios: First, the seed fell on the path, where it was trampled and became bird food.  The second, the seed fell on rocky ground, where it sat in shallow dirt, exposed, receiving no nutrients or moisture, and dried up.  The third, the seed was among the thorny weeds, the thorns choked out the seeded plants.  The fourth, the seed fell on good ground, matured, producing fruit.

Notice the first two seedings don’t really hit the soil, they are on the path and rocks (external).  The second two are “soiled” (internal).  The seed, which Jesus explains is the Word of God, it is taken in – into the heart.

Yet. Weeds.

In that area, Palestinian weeds like these thorns can grow up to six feet in height and have a major root system.  Regardless of the Godzilla size, the weeds compete for nutrients. This competing-choking literally means to suffocate.  To suffocate is to halt the ability to thrive, to breathe, to live.  Fascinating.  The Word of God is “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Jesus goes on to explain, “The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity” (emphasis mine, Luke 8:14, NLT).

Cares, riches and pleasures AND the word of God.  Yep.  Sounds crowded.  Our worries, cares easily bleed into anxiety, which brings disruption to the mind, the heart and yes, the soul. Riches can be defined as seeking hard after “having the wants.” And pleasures, those distractions that pull our look elsewhere for gratification.  Individually they are not bad.  But.  When they take time, effort and attention away from the Word, we end up having no time for it – no time for God. 

Yes, weeds. “But all too quickly” they suck the ever-loving God stuff right out of our life.  Our receiving ground starts strong – but the distractions come, the concern for spiritual things are crowded out by material things.  The potential of fruit has just shriveled and never matured.

Weeds.  What worries suffocate you?  What are you seeking hard after?  God, His word, or stuff?  What distractions have you looking – what has your attention?

Know YOUR weeds. 

How are weeds established?  Literally, they are poop droppings (eewwWW) or they are blown in by the winds.  They are brought in with fill dirt. How are they destroyed? They are pulled.  They are dug deep and pulled, making sure you get the whole root, if not, the remains will continue to grow.  They are pulled out before they have a chance to flower and reseed – multiply.

Weeds. Competing or interfering with the activity of the deliberately placed Word of God.  Watch your dirt.  Protect the seed. Do some weed pulling.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24).

*Thank you to my Master Gardener friend Kathy B for your insightful advice on tending to weeds.